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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  August 25, 2013 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT

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book tv brings you portions of talks about the budget. we start with philip with joyce of the american association for budget analysis. in his book the congressional budget office he gives a history and says it's non-partisan communication to congress and the public has been crucial in the creation of the political agenda. >> has it been used as a political football in the past? >> the one thing you can say about organizations that produce information is that they cannot make anybody use that information. they can't even make anybody interpret that information accurately. so whoever it is that might be a support your opponent of a particular policy can clearly use a cost estimate for example
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to say that this is a bad policy or a good policy that happened for example in the clinton health care reform in 1993 and 1994 cbo came up with an estimate that said the clinton health care reform rather than saving money which the clinton administration said would cause money that was only one of aspects that someone could look at to judge what it was a good or bad reform but the people grab on to that particular conclusion. it to their best and to see if they could kill the clinton health care reform. >> this is book tv on c-span2 with professor philip joyce of the university of maryland about his book the congressional budget office. recently with the kennedy house is the cbo used?
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>> it should have been used in two ways. the one way that was used is to be able to help the super committee and set the parameters of what they were going to do. so that director elmendorf testified multiple times before the super committee on the nature of the problem was facing the country and what kind of things would need to happen, but would be a reasonable trajectory for trying to get the deficit down and clearly the cbo staff behind the scenes worked with the super committee answering questions. there's an awful lot of work cbo does that isn't visible but they are providing advice when asked congressional staff committees. what would have happened is if the super committee had been successful is that the cbo would have had to score whatever legislative changes the super
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committee came up with in order to determine whether they actually met the target set from the super committee. at least $1.2 trillion over ten years in order to prevent the automatic sequestration from taking effect if they had gotten that far which we now know they didn't to be the cbo would have had to judge whether the specific changes they came up with on the tax side or the spending side actually met the target. if you didn't meet that target then one of two things that have happened. they would have gone back to the drawing board and added things that would have brought them up to the target for the difference between what they did they had the ultimate target which is what is now going to happen and once the change is made. >> what do we mean by scoring? >> cbo is required to do cost
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estimates. and that's a very important role in the sense that what existed prior to that point there was no no thundering these cost estimates and the way that would find them necessarily trust for the prior year to the creation of cbo. but what happened is you would either have the president's budget office and budget what do they cost estimate that wasn't immune from the influence and whether the president actually likes this particular bill or didn't like this particular bill or worse yet, you might have the sponsor of the particular piece of legislation being the one to do the cost estimate so they had every incentive to suggest that the cost was lower in fact then it would be in reality. the cbo doesn't get the cost
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estimates right all the time. no one would get the cost estimates right all the time to the i think that the influence is people realize they don't have a particular tax to grind in the the date that is they are trying to do what they can to come up with the most accurate cost estimate they can and they are not trying to help it a piece of legislation passed or kill the piece of legislation. >> can you tell us one example of where cbo got it wrong and one example they got it right? >> i can tell you where they got it wrong and everybody got it wrong, which is in 2001 when president bush came into office one of the things cbo does is projections for the federal budget. and those projections have sometimes covered five years but increasingly ten years so what
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happened when president bush came into office is there was an estimate from cbo that said that left to its own devices that it's under current law the budget surplus cumulatively would be $5.6 trillion. and that was as all cbo estimates are not a prediction, but it was a projection based on the best information they had. and in fact if anybody should know the further out to make a projection of anything the less accurate the point is to be. so that was the midpoint of the range, and it was a pretty big range. but it did support those who thought that it was important for the congress and the president to cut the taxes at this point. the tax cuts that were enacted were helped by the fact that there was this projection tt
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was wrong. there were projections coming from elsewhere that were wrong as well among the things they didn't predict the didn't predict the recession that started soon after that and also didn't predict september 11th, which no one really did. and there were fiscal affects coming out of september 11th. this is something that illustrates the limits of any analytical agency and the cbo for many years probably 15 years was producing reports and analyses that were warning about what might happen if the government sponsored enterprises, fannie mae and freddie mac ever got in the situation they didn't have enough capital and they needed to come to the federal government for a bailout. their position through this entire time is that will never happen. and part of what happened in the financial crisis in 2008 and beyond the federal government
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had to back to the takeover fannie mae and freddie mac at the cost of two or $300 billion to the federal budget. this was a case where cbo had a right not that this would inevitably happen, but that there were particular things that the congress should do in legislation to protect the government against the potential that something like this would happen. >> the last couple years the federal budget process has broken down in congress and we haven't passed the appropriations as is required by law. a lot of continuing resolutions. what has been the role if any in that whole process? >> i think bill role is to support the process in one thing that i was a little uncomfortable talking about the success of the cbo because i'm talking about the success of an organization in the middle of a
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process no one said say is successful. part of that is just the limit of what any organization whose job is to provide information can do. so what the cbo has been giving in that process is what the cbo always does as the congress considers legislation it, you know, it provides them information on. in trying to force the congress or get the congress to do something the congress doesn't want to do. one very important thing she did when she said the organization, and this really was the working definition of what it means to be non-partisan. it was described to me once and as someone said you love cbo how much something cost they will tell you how much something cost. if you ask them if it's a good idea they will tell you how much it costs. and so, you know, even though i
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would agree with you or anyone else who says the budget process is dysfunctional, not sure how much cbo can do about that other than to try to eliminate the effect of the failure to engage in the various policies whether it be deficit-reduction or something else >> our programs on the federal budget continue now with scott and jeanne johnson. the present and in that locale federal money is spent with the authors declare the country's 9 trillion-dollar debt has created a budgetary crisis and feature a series of plans to readers of the current debt.this >> what's the most important >>ings the folks should know about the budget?things but >> i think there's a couple impt things. nely eveof the most important is that nearly everyone who looks at the budget, whether liberal or conservative either in or oud
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of government tends to use the same word to describe it whichut is unsustainable we have runyear consistent deficits 31 out of 3n years. we are $9 trillion in debt h coming and we have huge expenseb coming upab as the baby boomers retire they will need socialnd security and medicare., are health care costs in particular are going to drive medicare. so it is a very serious problem. if nothing is done the gao40, te predict that by 2014 there will be no money left in the budget h for anything other than mone've medicare, social security and >>terest on the money that we have halready borrowed. bo >> phone numbers on the bottom gues of the screen. we are talking about the federal budget and debt. 202-737-0001 for democrats, republicans, republicans: and independents: our guests are scott bittle, who is co-author of "where does the money go? "again scott bittle is executive
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editor of public agenda online. what is public agenda online, by the way? >> guest: public agenda online is the website of our organization, public agenda, a nonprofit, non partisan organization devoted to citizen education and public engagement and the website is a place where you can track both public opinion and what's going on on more than 20 different issues. >> host: jean johnson, let's start with your great budget debate pop quiz and have fun with this. you lay out five questions. how about i lay out the question and you can lay out one of the answers for us and we can move on. on page 12 of your book, true or false, you ask. if it weren't for the war in iraq, the federal budget would have been balanced the last couple of years. what's the answer? >> guest: the answer is it's not true. and a lot of americans believe that. unfortunately, the war that -- the money we've spent for the
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war, even if we had never gone to war or came out tomorrow would not be enough to balance the budget. >> host: scott bittle, question for you, true or false if we just rolled back the bush tax cuts something we hear a lot here in town, we could solve all of our problems with the federal budget. what's the answer? >> guest: and again, the answer is, sadly, false. it's not a single thing driving our budget problems. and even if we rolled back the bush tax cuts and right now, no one on either side of the aisle seems to be talking about rolling back all of them, we would not balance the budget and would certainly not solve the long-term problems of medicare and social security. >> host: first call for our guests who are up in new york, buford, georgia, you're on the air. go ahead, georgia. >> caller: yes. good morning. >> host: morning. >> caller: thank you so much for c-span. >> host: uh-huh. >> caller: i'm sorry. i can't hear you. >> host: yeah. we can hear you. go right ahead. >> caller: oh, okay. i just wanted to ask your -- i wanted to ask the guests and then make a comment.
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>> host: sure. >> caller: i wanted to ask you if either of you have read the book "the corporation," you know with the guy with the long devil tail on it. and i also wanted to ask you to make a comment and say, with all of the money and stuff that the bush administration has used up since they've been in office, i just can't help but wonder sometimes if that money isn't just being put someplace into some sort of something for after he leaves the administration? and the next person that gets in there, is just going to be another part of this situation. >> host: thanks. jean johnson, why don't you take that one. >> guest: well, i haven't read the book. one of the problems of writing a book, you get behind on your own reading but, you know, the --
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one of the things that we point out in the book is that the deficit spending is routine in washington. it's 31 out of the last 35 years. the republicans and democrats are both involved. it is a, you know, there's not too much bipartisanship in washington but seems to be a bipartisan agreement to kind of kick this ball down the road. so, i think that, you know, we need to face up to the fact that the american people and its leaders have sort of joined in this kind of game where we pretend we can have very low taxes and have them even lower and still have lots of programs and services for the country, that the government pays for. and the numbers aren't adding up and there are going to be some tough political choices because we either have to raise taxes or cut back programs or do some of both and we need to do it for the budget and we need to look at it for social security and medicare, as well. >> host: scott bittle, page 83 of the book, you point out that the main function of the world's greatest superpower is, writing checks to retired people.
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yeah, we know it, you write, surprised us, too, you better sit down and have a look at this pie, one of those budget pies, hopefully the folks can see the numbers if the camera pushes in but give us details on this and perspective. >> guest: well, this is another thing that shocks people when they see it. the fact is that two-thirds of the federal budget is spent on just five things, social security, defense, medicare, medicaid and interest on the money we've already borrowed. everything else, from office chairs to national parks to the space shuttle is only a third of the budget. and, yes, social security is the largest single slice edging out defense slightly. and i think that's a surprise to most people. >> host: what does that, of course -- what does that mean to the future, how much more spending percentage-wise is that going to be as folks grow older? >> guest: well, as i said before, the worst-case scenario is that medicare, social security, and interest on the
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debt could take over the entire budget. of course, with a little common sense, you don't get to that point. but, in particular, even though medicare is only 12% of the budget now, that is really going to skyrocket. health care costs and the -- and having 78 million baby boomers in the pipeline to get medicare is really going to make that the largest and probably the scariest part of the federal budget. >> host: medicare is one of those questions in your pop quiz in the book it says which of the following areas do experts worry about most because its costs are so hard to control and could rise out of sight, is it defense, or the budget for fema to help people guests have pointed out. a call from pittsburgh. hello, pits blurring. >> caller: yes, sir. how are you doing today?
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>> host: fine. >> caller: i'm calling to ask if most of the money we're going to have to pay back in 2020 is also going to come from interest on the money we borrow, then why don't we -- yn doesn't our government follow the constitution, abolish the federal reserve and turn our own money because they have the right to? also, why doesn't nobody talk about the $1 trillion we spent to preserve our empire around the world like ron paul says. another point is on 9/10/o 1 the day before september 11th donald rumsfeld mentioned that $2.1 trillion was missing from the pentagon. why isn't there any investigation into the that and why isn't anybody trying to find? that's a lot of money that could take care of a lot of these problems too. that's all i have to say. >> host: jean johnson, up in new york. >> guest: well, you know, it's interesting. there are two categories of discussion about the budget.
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one really focuses on process questions, you know, maybe we need a balanced budget amendment, maybe do something about the federal reserve, maybe redesign the tax system and all of those can be discussed but there's a big substantive question and that's the one we really try to concentrate on in the book. and that is that, as a country, we spend more than we take in. and, you know, we've gotten to an point right now, there's so much concern about the spending for the war and the spending in the pentagon, we're actually spending more on interest on the debt than we're spending on the war in iraq. so, just being in debt is beginning to be a huge cost in and of itself. one of the things i think that's very important is to be more transparent and have the public at large understand how the money's being spent and to see that pie chart and to see the categories most of the money is going for things like social security and medicare that broadly popular. we've had a real sense that we want to spend on defense in the last since 2001. so, you know, there are some
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things that we can cut that nobody would complain about. but, they are few and far between. most of the spending in the budget has broad popular support. >> host: next call, albany, new york, talking about the federal budget and debt in the u.s. go ahead. albany, are you there in. >> caller: yeah. >> host: go ahead, sir. >> caller: yeah, i'm curious on it is true there is no law stating we have to pay federal taxes? >> host: scott bittle, is that right? >> guest: well, i think wesley snipes thought so and i don't think that worked out for him completely. i would -- i think -- let's put it this way. i assume that the law says i have to pay my taxes and i act accordingly. >> host: albany, are you still there? i think we lost him. wanted to get more perspective from him but let's try indianapolis. you're up now, hi. >> caller: that was a very good answer to the last question, i
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might add. while i have somebody there i want to ask about the money in the faith-based initiatives, bush's decree on starting to give money to religious organizations. i've tried to contact everybody here in indiana, as far as where the money is going, how is it divided between the nom denominations, is there a religious preference being given and nobody is tracking this money. we have a lot of politicians in indiana in the last ten years the be a scam investigations and everything else because of money in women's shelters and ending up buying cars and houses and stuff like this and it is a big mess here in indiana because the faith-based initiatives nobody is keeping track where the money is going because if the catholics get more than the protestants or the protestants get more than the muslims you have a violation of constitutional law. >> host: let's hear from our guest, jean johnson. >> guest: well, you know, i think the caller has certainly a right to know where the money is going. i'm not really prepared to answer it at some point but we
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certainly should follow where the money is going. but, i think, also there, is a tendency of most of us to focus on a small area of the budget that upset us and lose the big picture. you know, i think when we talk to typical americans and focus groups, there's often concern about agricultural subsidies or welfare or the space program or the national endowments and, if you took all of those things out of the budget, it would be less than 5% of the budget. so, you know, while i think as citizens we absolutely have a right to know where the money is going and we should be, you know, should get more penny-pinchers in washington because i think there is a sense in washington being rather cavalier with the money. but, we also need to be honest with ourselves and start looking at social security, medicare, the defense budget, all the money we spend on interest and start thinking about how we'll change our ways. >> host: back to the pop quiz in your book, scott bittle up in new york, number 4 asks true or false foreign aid is one of the top ten expenses in the federal
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budget. true or false? >> guest: it's false. it's really about one percent of the budget, less than one percent of the budget. and yet, people really do overestimate it. you see surveys that -- where people say it's 20% or 30% of the budget. >> host: why is that? >> guest: i think because people don't have a good sense of how the government spends their money. one of the things that happens is that the glamorous programs, the programs that get a lot of attention, are what people think of when they think of the federal government and the federal budget and they think these things are larger than they really are. very few people think, as i meet people and talk to them about this issue, think that social security is 21% of the budget. and i think they look at -- they think of things like law enforcement, the space program, and so on. these are one and two percent slices of the budget. we can keep them or not keep
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them. we can change them any way we want. but, you have to have a sense of where the money goes overall before you can really get a grip on the budget program. >> host: we have a caller from dallas now for our guests. up in new york who wrote this book "where does the money go? "your guided tour to the federal budget crisis. good morning, dallas. >> caller: good morning. and good morning to your guests. >> host: uh-huh. >> caller: and what i want to say, of course, we vote in dallas tomorrow. i've already voted. but, i think that that's one of the things that concerns me, the direction our country is heading, with this, i don't know obama movement. because i don't think anybody's added up all the things that he's promised, like ending poverty in the world. and he doesn't offer any idea of how he's going to pay for that. and i think, you know, that's one of the reasons why i think that he's incredibly naive to -- well, to try to get in the white
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house by having everybody believe that he's going to be able to do all these things and we really can't afford it. and i'm very concerned about the direction of our -- of our country right now. >> host: thanks, jean johnson, linking the presidential campaign to the budget process here. what do you think? >> guest: well, you know, i think it's an important issue. there are all the candidates that are still in the race are talking about these issues in ways that don't really add up. on the republican side, there's a commitment to keeping the tax cuts that went through with president bush. there's discussion of more tax cuts. and there's kind of a vague reference to cutting spending but they haven't really laid out on the table exactly what they're going to cut and how they are going to get congress to go along with them. on the democratic side there, are lots of proposals for spending and new ideas and sort of vague references to fiscal responsibilities. and again, not really a
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clear-cut edition of exactly how they're going to get the budget to add up. and regardless of who is elected, a republican or democrat, they're going to face, when they get into office, the deficits that have accumulated and we have to get started on these long-term issues on social security and medicare. and they really are not one where the trillions of dollars that make up the federal budget come from and where the money goes. >> i began to realize and i think my editors realized there was a market for a book that just explained where the money comes from and where it goes. as i thought about that, i thought the here is a good idea this is a book i could do quickly. i was cocky about how quickly and i thought i'm going to write
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a book about the federal budget for people that have never managed to get to the end of any wall street story on the subject and i had a hope that maybe i could play a role in separating fact from opinion because i think what has happened in a lot of the budget discussion is people have mixed up with the facts are and what the reality is and what choices we have to make. the choices are fundamentally in the best sense of the word political the have to do with our values and what government we want to have and the nature of success and so forth. they build a set of facts that support them and they never let the other side interfere in their argument. if you watch one cable channel you get one set of facts and watch another and get another set of facts and you never know they were talking about the same thing.
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i know it is unfashionable to try to write a book that says i do not have a solution to the budget crisis. this is and chapter 5. but the role of a journalist on something like this is to say this isn't so complicated let's break it down. it is hard to understand because it is so big that instructions the white house turns out to the agency to tell them how to submit request by the president's budget run to 972 pages. the budget itself you can read them on line. to hundred 38 pages last year. behind those is another set of explanations. my favorite is the department of homeland security that submitted to congress 3,130 pages to justify their budgets one for every $12.6 million they want to
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spend. $3.6 trillion a year. he used to write for the miami herald the reason people don't understand the federal budget is that millions and billions of trillion sound too much alike. if we call them golf balls, watermelons and hot air balloons would be easy to understand the magnitude and the various something to that. in the book i try to break the budget into the digestible morsels and i want to talk about a couple of them before we talk to questions. before the congress shows up every year they've committed about two-thirds of the money. 63% of the money the federal government last year was committed to the various benefit programs, medicare and social security, foreign subsidies,
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veterans, interest on the debt and they spend the rest of the year are doing about everything else. what this means is they are never forced to confront a much we want to spend on retirement programs and health care benefits. what is the right amount in the modern economy? it is automatically baked in the cake and only if there is a reason to reopen the bill which their sometimes is do they make any changes. an economist named jean mr. early who used to be with the treasury and the ronald reagan years is now the urban institute and pointed out that in 2009 for the first time every single dollar of tax revenue had been committed before the congress are right. so all the money that tax code brought in and went to cover the benefits and interest on the debt and all the money that we spend on everything else defense, domestic discretionary stuff come all that was borrowed.
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that's one thing and that is a big change from the past. the second thing and it is really did is the one thing that is rising faster than everything else in the federal budget is health care. that's because the government covers more people every year and because the cost of health care is going up faster than almost everything else. in 1960 before medicare and the decade, the programs that ensure the elderly, disabled and the poor, 9.5% of the federal budget went to health care. last year it was 25%. the congressional budget office had 23% by 2021. so, this is an inextricable fact you can argue with out how we should change it and it is certainly the fact that we don't have the world's wealthiest population by far even though we spend more on health care than any other country per capita but we can't escape the fact and i
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am struck by in the town that democrats and republicans basically can't agree what time it is there is a consensus to the health care that is a big part of the problem. another big chunk of the federal budget is defense. we spent $700 billion on defense last year. $700 billion. that is more than the combined defense budget of china, britain, france, russia, japan, saudi arabia, germany, india, italy, brazil, south korea australia, canada tehrik-e, spain and israel. our defense budget is bigger than the defense budget of the next 17 countries combined. i don't think that's sustainable there are big choices for the cuts of the world to what extent it's important to keep the planes opened for the oil shipments and for everybody that depends on the oil in the middle east.
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to what extent do we want to be able to send people of the drop of a hat into libya or somalia or syria or wherever? there are some big items there and i think the trouble with the defense budget it's like covering the federal reserve it's developed a fed the cassette of facts and speech and concepts outsiders can't understand. in the book i try to take one thing the defense department has to decide how many aircraft carriers are enough? so the congress in its infinite wisdom told the pentagon they have to have 11 aircraft carriers. they got special permission to have ten for a while while they are building a new one and the pentagon wants to replace each aircraft carrier it has every five years for the rest of my life. each of the new aircraft carriers which are enormous the navy calls them four and a half acres of the sovereign territory
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costs $11 billion. $11 billion is the same amount that medicare will spend on all of the hip, knee and shoulder surgery on 700,000 medicare beneficiaries. so when you do the scale, one carrier, 700,000 joint replacement. that's not the worst. when they take one of these things out of commission, it costs $2 billion. aircraft carriers are expensive. each has two nuclear reactors and dissembling the nuclear reactor is expensive so we have some decisions to make on how big of a defense budget we want to have. brad mentioned a couple misconceptions people have. one of the other misconceptions people have is all the money that they spend goes to pay bureaucrats most of whom people think don't do a good job. it's true they employ a lot of
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people, 4.4 million people. most of them either in the defense department, civilian or one of the jury is homeland security apparatus is. if we fired every single one of them from president obama's secretary to the person that is collecting tolls at yellowstone and not to cut right now if we got all of their wages and benefits we would save a lot of money to the $435 billion last year. if we had no federal employees whatsoever so where does all the money go? the federal government in a sense is a military with a big
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health and welfare retirement fund attached to it. $2.2 trillion of the money that came into the federal government last year went out in the form of the benefits and individuals and much of the rest went in the state and local governments. so, it is not going to be possible to reduce the federal deficit by a nickel and diming the federline please. it doesn't mean we aren't going to try that we aren't going to succeed in that way. another misconception that people have is that we are paying more and more taxes and we are paying more and more taxes than people in other countries and i think a lot of people particularly in the room appreciate americans actually have a smaller government than those in most developed countries so we get less of our services from the government than they do in for instance northern europe. what is less understood is that for a variety of reasons, the share of income that people at the mill class -- middle class
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has been coming down steadily. and 1979, people in that middle part of the income distribution paid about 19% from all kind to the federal government according to the congressional budget office. in 1999, 20 years later was down to 27%. bluster in 2007 it was about 14%. last june partly because of the recession people think they were depressed when there wasn't special tax breaks it was down to 12%. the typical american family has been paying less in taxes every year as a share of their income even though the government has been spending more money every year as a share of their income. where is the money come from? we are borrowing it. we borrowed 36 cents of every dollar that we spend. most of it from abroad. half of it from the chinese.
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at the bottom a series of policies many of them pursued by republicans and democrats have to gradually light and the tax code on people what the bottom. 46% of households didn't pay any income taxes to be a 46%. swollen by the recession but an ordinary times it has been about 40%. a lot of them paid payroll taxes. which for most working americans is a bigger tax the and the income tax. but even with that about one-fifth of all americans didn't pay either the payroll or income taxes. they didn't make enough money. there were elderly people living on the social security or the tichenor vintage of one of the myriad set of tax breaks for people other low-wage workers or that have a big family or have other deductions. some of them were probably well off and some of them probably rip off the system but most of them did not.
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you have to think about those three things. what are we going to do about health care? what are we going to do about defense, what are we going to do about revenue? almost everything else is a detail. if you get those three things you have begun to put the pieces together. the deficit today is the enormous and bigger than we have had almost any time in the history but the deficit today is the problem. the u.s. government is borrowing almost unlimited amounts of money at extraordinarily low interest rates. the government is borrowing today at 1.1%. that is a record low. it's never been that low since the government has been borrowing as far as the records that we have triet the problem that we have now is on employment. 8.3% unemployment out of work a
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year or more and say they are still looking. but the deficit isn't today's problem. it's going to be today's problem. eager today's low interest rates the federal government last year spent to under $30 billion on interest. that's the same as the combined come it is bigger than the combined budgets in the department of commerce, education, energy, homeland security, interior, justice, state, plus the federal courts. so how is it that we are able to borrow so much money and pay such little interest? why aren't we like spain or italy or greece? it's not because we have managed our finances or that we have a political system that seems to be a marvel of efficiency and compromise and comedy. it's because the rest of the world looks even worse. the united states is the world's tallest midget when it comes to borrowing money. if this could go on forever, it
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would be fantastic. it isn't going to go on forever. i have no clue when it's going to end but it's not going to go on forever. as interest rates return to normal, the share of the federal budget is going to rise and that will crowd out spending on other things and it will pay taxes and borrow money and some of the money will go to pay what we paid last year and some of the taxes we've paid would go to pay the interest to the creditors. the creditors are increasingly overseas. in 1990, 19% of the federal debt was held by foreigners. last year it was 46%. we are shoving portions of the federal budget ahead of the debate over the budget on the return of congress on such number ninth. next, senator tom coburn is the author of the debt bomb a plan
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to stop washington from bankrupting america. he talks about long-term deficit reduction. >> it's about what is getting ready to happen to the country. why it is getting ready to happen and what the possible solutions to get out of them are here is a great example of how we got in trouble in the first place because what our founders believe is we were able to have a central limited government and i believe that we should have a limited central government but it could be authoritative in the areas that we give it responsibility. but beyond that, what to do is totally devonish all the laboratories of experimentation and these regional differences when you take it and pull the power away and said it in washington what you are doing is markedly diminishing the liberty and freedoms of people on outside of washington.
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is the money tempting? >> guest: not for me. when i ran for the senate one of my campaign teams synnott bringing anything home to oklahoma. and the reason is there is no money here. out of the $3.6 trillion last year. we borrowed from the people that pay it back. is it tempting to spend money and enhance yourself? i am sure it is. the point is to me it is a moral call tuesday let to the next generation because what you are doing is stealing their opportunity to be free. and if you look at the context of history it's hell every public died we are doing the same thing.
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every public experience before the collapse and the whole reason for the debt bomb, the reason that i wrote it is that people can understand where we are and how we got there and with the solutions to it are. we got the gao to outline to us the areas of duplication. they have gone through two-thirds of that now the last report would come in april of this year. they've identified 200 peery as we have multiple programs doing exactly the same thing. no metrics to see if it is working and that comes close to $200 billion a year in the wasted money. wasted money that wasn't enhancing what it was intended to do or not facilitating what it was intended to do.
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>> host: in the dead body of the duplication, the science, technology, engineering and mathematics education programs. there are 209 of those, 100 plus, teacher quality et programs to the economic development, 88 transportation assistance, the financial literacy 56 different programs, job training is 47 different job training programs and 20 programs food for the hungry 18 in the disaster response preparedness 17 different programs. >> it's not that we have that many programs. but as outlandish as we don't know if they are working because when they are passed, there is nothing that says you have to have a metric to see if it is accomplishing the goal and the biggest defect of the congress since i have been here has been well lack of oversight of most of the programs.
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>> host: taking it to the floor to get rid of some of these duplicative programs what happened. >> guest: we had one for $2 million passed all of the rest failed. all of these programs have constituencies in. by the way we found another 52 programs for job training for the disabled. so we have 106 job-training programs or 109 that we spend $24 billion a year to the and we have pretty well demonstrated most in oklahoma we studied them all in oklahoma. i had my representatives say are the working in oklahoma and we pretty well figured out is the federal programs don't work and the ones outside of the federal government and the states run themselves to work.
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so the question is if there is a role for the federal government and job-training shouldn't it be effective and should in the congress be looking to see how it works? shouldn't we have metrics on it and shouldn't we have 57 or 47 different programs to cost $19 billion a year should we know if we are getting value for our money? and so what happens in congress is a few question that, the first thing people will do is you don't want people to get job training. >> it's not a subject that i will take on if i don't think that it's appropriate for us to look at. but most people won't do that because they don't want to get labeled saying i don't want to get labeled as job training. i don't want to be accused of not solving the problem. so therefore, cover my eye is
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coming years and mouth and let it continue. ask yourself this. and thomas jefferson said there is no role for the federal government in education. if we want one we need to pass an amendment to the constitution to do that. hell is it that we have all of these teacher training programs run by the federal government costing a billion dollars a year, run out of washington to treat the teachers who are actually a local and community and state responsibility. how do we get there? by the way, does anybody know if they are improving the teachers' training? improving the skills of the teachers? what is the role of the federal government and the number two if there is a legitimate role or
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there isn't, shouldn't be no when we pass this say here's the metrics we are going to use to measure whether they are effective or whether the teacher training program is effective? >> the united states of paranoia is the name of the book. here is the cover. the author is jesse walker. are americans a paranoid people? >> there has been paranoiacs at the heart of america for as long as there have been -- i can't speak to the hon recorded history. there is. dalia since the colonial days america has been filled with the political paranoia and i don't know that we are more paranoid than any other country. the book is about america. for all i know, the french are a
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very paranoid people, but we are. >> they say just because you are paranoid doesn't mean that you are not being followed or watched. is there some legitimacy? >> people can fire. that's part of life. one reason why we are always going to have the conspiracy theory is there is always been to be some conspiracy but not like the vampire is dying out. the investigation after watergate when all sorts of revelations came out about the irs so there are a real conspiracy. but what i'm also trying to do is look at the conspiracy theory is that say absolutely nothing true about the object of the fury but they still say all sorts of things to do about the anxiety and the difference of
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the people. the story doesn't pass on until people have a reason to believe it. >> what is a contemporary example of that? >> i think that all sorts of theories that involved fighting against american liberty and sovereignty are going to appeal to people that feel like they are losing control of their lives in some way or another seven new order tv and the man metaphorically speaking about the sort of loss of control people have even if that isn't being directed by 13 people in the room somewhere. the idea that white doctors were injecting blacken the bees with aids. but it would be because many people have experienced a highhanded abusive treatment like doctors.
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one other thing i stress in the book is that powerful people have conspiracy theories as well. it's not a procedure. it's been a part of examples of people who were in charge of the society and very much afraid of the people that have sleeve odors, for example some of them are talking to one another without worrying and the historians will get the history and have a trouble discerning sometimes which ones were real and which ones were alarmed to read >> what about the contemporary nine eliason conspiracy theory etc.? do you look at that in the united states of paranoiacs
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>> despite a couple of discussions, there is a lot of talk about the truth and they are interesting but it is a paranoia that gripped america after 9/11 when someone could still a little bit of coffee sweetener and the airport that is the kind of paranoia that almost everybody got to see and now we can see he went a little over the top. maybe when we saw something, and this is a true story and it turned out to be someone's science project but we thought that it was a bomb we cut after the world trade center in the pentagon. even if you are saying it is better safe than sorry and they didn't need this to confiscate just in case. and that is the kind of paranoia that i would like to spend a lot
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of time discussing in the book because it's something that is easy to say look at these crazy people that believe in the conspiracy theory. but all sorts of everyday people, people that watch c-span at different times and the leader realize it was a little bit over the top. >> with the revelations about the irs in your view should we be paranoid? >> i never want to encourage people to be penalized because that is a critical term but it's certainly good to be skeptical and suspicious a lot of time. and by all for the good solid investigative journalism that is grounded. >> host: >> who is one of your favorite leaders from our history? >> from our history, while some of the interesting things in the
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book you expect for example john quincy adams was very much afraid of the freemasons and their influence in the united states and the election of 1832 saying the important thing is and whether it is andrew jackson or henry clay but what we can do. i don't remember the phrase. there are people that are surprised to hear. most familiar figures certainly interesting to read about in the 70's the of a former member telling these elaborate conspiracy theories that brought in everything [inaudible]
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and atlas snaudible] and atlas shrugged not eventually it's not just a colorful story of itself, but what he was saying in the 70's when certainly entered the mainstream in the 80's and people went to jail. they didn't go as far. >> jackson became a part of the conspiracy theory. >> yes, in the book he survives. afterwards he became convinced that a senator had hired the
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assassin and at the same time people that were antijackson and maybe this was a false flag and he every missed him for sympathy he ended up dying in jail in an asylum decades later but when you read the account a lot of it is now the suspension after the jfk assassination. what happened to the country with regards to the paranoia? >> people were already paranoid about a number of things and that opened up the floodgates. there was a fear for example of having the radical right that had been building and there was a belief that lee harvey oswald
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was the man on the far right that actually turned out to be a communist, but there is they've exacerbated that year and because the attention they go into the cold war and this would be getting into the assassination theory and the president was assassinated people ultimately get fearful. all the other things i would write a lot more about the conspiracy theory about the urban riots. they piled one on top of the other. >> what do you do, what is your day job? >> i'm the editor of reason magazine. i am designing a book reviewer and writing for the magazine doing other editing for the magazine and patiently freelancing other places. >> word upcoming titles this fall that you're interested in?
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>> i will make a feature that just came out because we had our 45th anniversary this year and a number of people and historians and legal scholars to take in the one or two best books in the field that have come out in the last 45 years and a total of nine. >> they can go to the freeze and the better newsstands. >> pennacchio was your second book. a conspiracy theory, jesse walker is the author and here again is the cover. ..


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